Random Reflections on 2014

As I was going back and deciding who was worthy of making my Top 5 of 2014 list, I started to realize that there were a number of ways that I have, um, evolved, I guess you would say.  Then this weekend I was lying in bed thinking of any reason to avoid getting out of it really reflecting on what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed over the past year (really sappy, I know).  Instead of writing it for myself in the Notes section of my iPhone where I have all my New Years Resolutions for the past few years saved, I figured I’d post this one here.  So even if you all don’t gain anything from reading this, at least I’ll have an extra backup in case my phone runs away from me again (pshhh… you thought I’d let myself LOSE a phone twice in one year? of course it ran away from me) or someone decides to hack the cloud for the sole reason of accessing my weight loss goals of 2012.

Ladies and gentlemen, in no particular order, my random thoughts on 2014:

1) Sometimes closure is exactly what you need to get over someone.

As far as dating/relationships go, getting closure from my last relationship was by far the best thing I did in 2014.  Had that not happened, I would probably still be secretly hung up on him which over three years later would be almost as pathetic as AshLee’s obsession with Graham on Bachelor in Paradise.  But as a side note, people, don’t be making false promises to someone you really care about just to try to make him/her happy in the moment.  It’s just not cool.

ashlee social media graham

2) Where oh where is Juan Pablo?

Let’s see how many references to The Bachelor I can fit in one post.  Well, when I was looking back on some of my earlier dates of 2014, I remembered just how many more guys had the JP Syndrome back then compared to guys I’ve gone out with the last few months.  I don’t think I’ve done anything differently, so maybe I just happen to be going out with people who are more curious to actually get to know me.  Or maybe more guys watch The Bachelor than we think and have morphed themselves into Midwest souls like Chris Soules (ha, I amuse myself).  Guys: when you can’t hang out on Monday afternoon, I secretly know exactly what you are doing watching.

hey everybody chris harrison

3) So, about the First Date Check problem…

I’ll be honest, especially when I first started dating out of college and even still for most of 2014, I was a stickler about the First Date Check problem and seriously judged someone if they allowed me to split the check with them on a first meeting.  Still being honest here, I DO think it is in guys’ best interests to plan on footing the bill on a first date because believe it or not, I’m not the only person who is/was super picky about this.  Plus – and I admittedly still fall into this category – many girls just appreciate the old-fashioned chivalry that movies and TV shows showed us growing up.  All this said, I have begun to recognize that I don’t necessarily care TOO much about splitting on the first date anymore.  I’m not exactly sure what changed, but here’s my feelings (as of right now, at least): if we meet in a mutually convenient area or especially if he goes out of his way to go somewhere close to me, then by all means, let’s split it.  Honestly, sometimes I don’t even care if I pay for everything.  However, if it takes over 35 minutes and/or a $25 Uber ride for me to meet somewhere close to him, then I expect him to pay (I’m looking at you, Pompous Douchebag and Subway Kisser).

clarissa date meter

Thanks, Clarissa.

4) …and about the Second Date Hold Up

I used to think that if I wasn’t into a guy after the first date, then it was completely okay for me to just ignore him when he reached out again until he got the point.  Lately, though, I try to be better about giving these fellahs an explanation… buuuut it doesn’t always happen.  Then one of my good friends recently made an excellent point that makes so much sense to me: the first date check problem is the equivalent of the second date hold up.  In other words, if we are going to expect a guy to pay on the first date, then us girls should be obliged to respond when they ask us out again – even if that means somehow telling them we are not interested.

the second date hold up

5) Everyone should learn to travel alone and take some time with the #1: YOU.

It can be good for the soul.

happy being alone

6) I need to be pickier with my online dates.

Say whaaaa?! Sounds ridiculous since this whole blog is about how picky I am, but there are actually a lot of dates that I agree to go on with people that I am only semi-interested in based on their profiles and our brief messaging before meeting.  The result?  I’m not excited to meet up with them and they very rarely see a second date.  On the other hand, the first Hinge date I went on was with someone who I was super attracted to on the app, which led to me being SO excited for the first date… and I ended up really liking him.  I was also excited for the Sean Connery sober man and even though my interest in him waned with each date, the first one was still way more successful than my first dates with guys I wasn’t all that into.

picky shoes and eating

7) I need to be less picky when I meet someone in person.

If you don’t know me, you are probably quick to assume that I have always been picky.  Fair assumption, but back in high school and college I actually used to date/hookup with an array of people including a scrawny redhead, a guy shorter than me, someone who grew literally zero facial hair, and, well, you get the picture.  Basically, I wasn’t really THAT picky.  So this year, I resolve to try to be more open-minded if a guy I’m not immediately attracted to introduces himself to me and also isn’t one of the 99% of the population in a relationship.

lower your expectations

8) I need to grow some balls and start approaching good-looking guys again.

I also need to start wearing my glasses – or finally get Lasik – so I get better at determining when someone is good from far but far from good.  Being less awkward could help as well.

pocahontas greeting

9) Our friends aren’t very good at setting us up – with anyone.

I’m convinced that the cure to my pickiness is by meeting someone with a good personality through a mutual friend and get to know them through casual group hangouts rather than forced dates.  The problem is that absolutely nobody seems to know any single people that I would be willing to date worthy of me. There has got to be a better way to take advantage of the mutual/third-party connections listed in Hinge.

help a girl out

10) At the end of the day, you gotta date because you want to and not because you need to.

If I’d rather stay in and watch SVU, then that’s what I’ll probably do.  And I’ll be happy doing it.  Self-love, readers, self-love.

im awesome

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…Until You Realize You Have the Same Tainted Goods You Discarded in the First Place

(continued from “Recycling Seems Like a Great Idea at First…“)

After accepting the guy from two years ago‘s out-of-the-blue invitation to be his date at a quickly approaching wedding, I was only provided the following information from him:

  •  it was his best friend’s wedding
  •  it was going to be about an hour and a half away (driving) from where we lived
  • because of the day the wedding was on, I was going to have to take a PTO day in order to make it

Fortunately, I had plenty of PTO saved up, so I didn’t mind taking a vacation day for this.  After all, I was genuinely excited about the prospect of spending time with a guy that I liked and who claimed to reciprocate the feeling.  However, as the date started creeping up, I kept having to ask him for more information, specifically about when I should be ready to leave and when I should expect to be back.  All understandable questions since I was assuming we would be driving together to the wedding.  Not a crazy assumption, right?

Problem #4: Inconvenience

Wrong.  Only a week and a half before the wedding, I reached out again for details, and this is how the conversation went:

Me: My PTO request was accepted, so I’m all good to go. What should I be planning on as far as when to leave, when we would get back, etc?

Him: Sorry, I’ve been meaning to get you that information. The wedding starts at 4:00 that day so give yourself at least two or three hours to be safe and to beat traffic. Then it ends the next day so you’ll be able to leave the next morning and will have the weekend to do whatever. I am in the wedding, so I will be heading up the day before for the rehearsal dinner.

Hold up…are you fucking kidding me?? This is not the kind of information you drop last minute, especially since it was for a wedding where I didn’t know a single solitary soul. Too many questions and infuriating thoughts were running through my mind, so I just told him to call me later that night to talk about it.

When he finally called, I started by asking him what he envisioned my plan to be for this wedding. After he more or less repeated what he told me earlier that day, I said, “Ok, so what I am hearing is that you want me to drive almost two hours by myself to a wedding where I know absolutely no one except you. I probably won’t actually see you until the ceremony, and since you are in the wedding I presume we will sit separately.  So really, I will just be there with you for the reception party and then would spend the night in the hotel with you…just to leave by myself the next morning. It sounds like you just want me as a girl on your arm, and if that’s the case, I have better things to be doing with my time.”

dont waste my time

At first, he was a bit offended.  Apparently he had put a lot of thought into asking me to be his date and it was a big deal to him.  It did eventually dawn on him why sharing this information so late was not the wisest decision, so he apologized and said he’d love it if I could make it to the rehearsal dinner with him.  While the idea of taking TWO days off for a guy who seemed to disappoint more than make me happy was not ideal, there was no way I was going to go if I had to drive myself.  So I agreed.

this is happening

Problem #5: The Total Stranger

A few days before we left, he casually let me know that his parents were going to be at the wedding (no big deal, right?). Then as we were driving to the rehearsal dinner, I asked if they had any idea who I was. He said no and that he should probably let them know he was bringing a date. Ummm…yeah, that might not be a bad idea.  I also asked if any of his friends knew who I was.  His response: “Well, some of them know I am bringing a date.”  Cool, glad no one has even heard one mention of my name.  This obviously meant that there were going to be a lot of questions – and you can bet your bottom dollar that there were.  Almost everyone asked me questions such as “how did you two meet?” and “how long have you been dating?” I kept my answers brief but honest: we met at a drinking event in the city, we have known each other for about two years, and we recently started hanging out again. Awkward, but it could’ve been worse.

My ultimate stranger status was achieved with the parents, though.  The morning of the wedding, I asked if he ever mentioned anything to his parents. He said no but had been meaning to.  Unfortunately, “meaning to” doesn’t quite cut it.  Shortly after he left early for the ceremony, our hotel room got a phone call. Assuming it was one of his buddies asking where he was, I picked up.

Guy on phone: Um, hi, is (name) there?
Me: No, he just headed downstairs to meet the rest of the wedding party. Did he not make it down there yet?
Guy on phone: Oh uh I’m not sure. I tried calling his cell phone but he hasn’t called back. This is his father.

Wow. Awkward.

awkward

I stumbled my way through the rest of the conversation and then quickly texted my date, told him the dealio, and asked if he ever told his parents about me. “No.”

The Positives

Despite the lack of communication leading up to the wedding and the fact that it was initially pretty annoying how I was this random girl no one had heard about before, I ended up having a really, really great time. His friends were all a lot of fun and made me feel like part of the group. His parents and I ended up spending a lot of time talking, and we definitely hit it off (he later confirmed how much they liked me). The affection he showed me had me thinking for the first time that he might actually be someone I could see myself in a relationship with.  (Let’s remember that it’d been three years since my last relationship, so this was not a consideration that I often had for anyone.) I know, you’re probably wondering how I could let one good night make up for all the far-from-great experiences I had had with him before, but he nailed it in these two areas which gained him serious points: 1) We had a fucking blast dancing together – sounds weird, but I love to dance (albeit very poorly) so much that I know I need to end up with someone who is not afraid to let loose and join me on the dance floor; 2) He refused to have sex with me – again, sounds a bit odd especially since I wanted it, but he said he didn’t want me to think that’s why he invited me which is why he promised himself we wouldn’t do it.  This level of respect definitely won me over.

changed since yesterday

Problem #5: Fade Away

If things with me and this guy continued the same way they had been at the wedding, then the chances are high that we wouldn’t be strangers today.  However, over the course of the next 3-4 weeks he pulled out the classic fade away technique (this is one of my favorite explanations for what this means). While I’m guilty myself for having pulled the fade away after one or two dates, I would hardly say that he and I were in the early enough dating stages where it was appropriate to just disappear without actually ending it and without an explanation… which is exactly what happened:

The week after the wedding was great. He was much more communicative than before and it didn’t take too long for us to make plans to see each other again.  Timing wasn’t on our side, since there wasn’t a single weekend while we were still talking that we were both in the city and not traveling.  This meant that we could only hang out on weekdays, and our busy work schedules prevented us from meeting up before 8ish, and then we were up at 6:00 the next morning.  Did the inconvenience factor trigger the fade away? Perhaps, but he continued to confirm that he wanted to make plans with me despite the time challenges.  Slowly but surely, I stopped hearing from him as much, and I started to realize that it was beginning to almost always be me making the efforts to hang out. Then one Sunday he told me he would call me later, then texted me super early the next morning saying he had fallen asleep but would call me after work. The day passed, nothing. Another day, nada. At the end of the week I addressed it as calmly as possible, and he said he was sorry, he had been catching up with his sister who had just come back from her honeymoon… and he just forgot to call me.

That more or less marked the end for me.  Look, I don’t want anyone talking to me, calling me, or seeing me just because it’s something they feel they HAVE to do.  It’s gotta be something you WANT to do.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do to force someone to actually WANT to do something… it has to come from them.  So after this, since he did apologize and even went so far as to express how much he did want to meet up again soon, I made one last-ditch effort to see if this might be worth my while because I still had feelings for him. We made tentative plans… which he canceled last minute.  I didn’t bother reaching out to him again after that, and while I obviously wanted him to contact me again, he never did.  It literally just ended at that.  Same exact story as how it ended two years ago. Haven’t heard a word from him since.

left like it was nothing

I have to imagine that there was a reason he faded away.  Maybe it was something I did, something I said, or perhaps he just started to realize he wasn’t into me anymore.  To make myself feel better, I like to think that he is just way too self-absorbed to care enough for or to want to show more than minimum attention to anyone but himself (fair argument since after the wedding it became super obvious that he had a serious case of the Juan Pablo Syndrome).  Whatever the situation, I can only be so mad because I totally get that these things happen. That said, I would have liked if he had at least given me the respect of an explanation – as brutal or simple as it may have been.  I mean, fuck, I gave up two PTO days to spend time with this guy.  Give me something here!

If anything, this is a true testament to the fact that you have to listen to your gut… but also to the advice of your friends.  From the very get-go they had strong negative opinions of him and told me that this guy wasn’t right for me, that they didn’t like him, and that I deserved better.  Traditionally their opinions of guys I am interested in (and guys that other friends are interested in) play out to be spot-on, so if any of you are reading this… sorry for being stubborn about this guy for way too long.  You were right.